Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Personalization, Yolo Insurance, Sales AI, And Cow-Free Dairy

Hello and welcome to Last Week In Venture, Crunchbase News’s weekly roundup of deals that may have flown under your radar.

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Before getting into those deals though, a quick recap of the past week. The Crunchbase News team covered supergiant rounds raised by autonomous vehicle company Aurora, sneaker shopping app GOAT, health data platform Health Catalyst, retail food waste management platform Relex, as well as big data and analytics platform provider Databricks. We surveyed startup naming trends and concluded that peak weirdness may be behind us. We also looked at ongoing trends in software revenues and the recent run-up in SaaS stock prices.

Of course, there’s a lot more going on besides. There are plenty of companies outside the unicorn spotlight and their stories are definitely worth sharing.

Let’s dive into the week that was in venture-land!

Content Customization Nets Capital

DataSine is a London-based company that got its start helping banks and other financial institutions seem more personable to their customers (a tall order for a famously stodgy industry). The company combines expertise in machine learning and psychology to create psychological profiles of users, which it uses to match content from the company’s creative or marketing team that the recipient is most likely to respond to. The gist: marketing teams will get to spend more time being creative and less time setting up A/B tests or agonizing over semantics.

On Thursday, DataSine announced it closed $5.2 million in Series A funding. The deal was led by Pentech and Propel Venture Partners. Several other investors participated in the deal.

DataSine has since expanded its product offering beyond banks, letting businesses from all sectors personalize content displayed to current or prospective customers. DataSine’s collaborative, content personalization platform, called Pomegranate, “applies machine learning to behavioral data that companies already collect to build customers” to “guide marketers in tailoring a range of content elements, including words and images,” according to the company.

Pomegranate is currently in beta and will roll out publicly in March. The company says Pomegranate already integrates with marketing tools like MailChimp and HubSpot.

DataSine already serves many enterprise customers in Europe, and “has helped achieve uplifts of up to 80% in engagement and 71% in sales,” according to a statement from the company. As more of our interactions with companies shift from offline to online, content personalization will likely only grow in importance.

Other Interesting Rounds

  • Continuing on the theme of sales and marketing, we’ve got San Francisco-based Gong.io, which just closed a $40 million Series B round led by Battery Ventures. The company builds “conversation intelligence” tools for sales teams. Basically, its an intelligent digital assistant that listens in to sales calls and offers sales professionals real-time feedback on how the call is going and what information to prompt for next. AIs will probably never haggle over a deal with one another (that’s what optimization functions are for), but they may already give the person on the other end of the line an edge.
  • Milan-based Yolo Insurance raised €5 million in a Series A round, which was led by Intesa Sanpaolo. Italian investors Neva Finventures, Net Insurance, Miro Ventures, and Barcamper Ventures participated in the round. The company, whose name is oddly on-the-nose (given its business) and seems to reference the English phrase “you only live once,” Yolo Insurance brokers a wide range of insurance policies (from home appliances to dogs to dental care) from existing Italian insurers on demand through digital channels.
  • There may be no better time to be a milk drinker, if you want to use an expansive definition of milk. Most fancy grocery stores feature “milk” extracted from all manner of nuts, grains, and legumes, all of which provide an animal-free substitute for moo juice. However, if you need the real thing without the environmental and animal welfare concerns associated with dairy cows, biotech might provide an answer. Perfect Day Foods produces dairy proteins (casein and whey) without cows’ involvement by using specifically-cultured microflora, which makes the proteins. It’s also lactose-free. Based in Berkeley, CA, the food-tech-meets-life-sciences company raised $34.8 million in a Series B deal co-led by Archer Daniels Midland Co., Horizons Ventures, and Temasek Holdings.

That’s all for this week! Have an adventurous weekend.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Fernand de Canne.

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